Monday, February 25, 2008

One last time..

“Why do we keep repeating this same argument again and again?” Mansi asked as she placed the food on the table.

“That is exactly what I want to know too. It has been a year and we still are arguing over everything” Siddarth screamed on top of his voice, sitting on the couch and switching channels.

Mansi walked into the living room and looked at him. She wasn’t looking beautiful. There was anger on her face. Frustration too. Siddarth didn’t want to see her.

“I’m tired Siddarth.” She said and wiped the sweat off her face.

Siddarth remained silent.

“I’m here talking and screaming and trying to make a point and what the hell is so interesting in that TV?” she screamed at him again. This time it was for his nonchalance.

“What do you want me to do?” Siddarth switched off the TV and looked at her.

“What do you want me to do?” she repeated the question.

Siddarth was silent again.

“This is it! I’m dead tired of your silence and definitely will go mad in just about a couple of days or even hours” she said.

“I’ve been trying but we always end up arguing over everything”

“Trying? Now that is news” she responded.

“What? Are you telling me that I don’t even try to keep this relationship going?” she had rubbed him on the wrong side and it clearly showed in his defensive voice.

She remained silent this time. He walked to her and held her by her shoulders.

“Look at me and tell me that I never tried”, he asked her shaking her in rage.

“You are hurting me like you have always done.” She said.

“Hurt? Gosh. What are we getting into now?”

“Yes Siddarth! I am hurt and it is sad that you haven’t seen it in me at all. And I’m tired of all this” she screamed as she pushed him away.

Siddarth saw someone else before him, not the Mansi he had been seeing for the past one year.

“Like you never hurt me. It wasn’t always a one-sided argument. You can’t blame me for everything” Siddarth screamed back at her.

The blame game continued for few more minutes and finally they had to culminate at a point, which they had no idea that it would be their last argument ever.

“I can’t take it any more Siddarth. Just leave me. Get out of this house” Mansi screamed on top of her voice. Silence fell upon the house and Siddarth stood there beside a woman who just wanted him to walk away from her and her life.

“Leave you for today or forever? Is that what you had wanted for a long time now?” he asked. His voice was not cracking yet. There was still anger lurking within his throat.

“Don’t think you can get away with technicalities by pulling out things from my mouth. Today or forever, just leave me.”

Siddarth did not look at her anymore. He picked his jacket and walked to the door. His anger had hit the bottom and she knew that, because he didn’t bang the door behind him, instead he just left it open. He surely wasn’t angry, but lost.


One week later.
Siddarth was at his office checking his personal emails every few seconds, hoping Mansi would have sent an email. She didn’t and he didn’t send her one either. He was getting impatient. Day one, he thought it was over forever. Day four, he thought it was a nightmare. Day seven, he knew it was all a false alarm and he wanted to get on with life, with Mansi. He wasn’t sure how to approach her. He lost the confidence of approaching his own girlfriend for the fear that she might just confirm that the breakup was for real.

He composed an email with no salutation or closure.

“Is this for real?”

He waited for 5 minutes. There wasn’t any response. Usually she responded that quick. But whenever they had a fight, she would respond in 10 mins. That was their delivery times to respond to email or SMS! He couldn’t wait. He sent the same message to her through SMS. There was no reply from her for 15 mins. He waited for 30 mins and left for a meeting with his team.

He couldn’t pull out his mobile to read the response during the meeting. He couldn’t resist. He excused himself and walked out of the meeting hall just to read the SMS. It was from his bank confirming the receipt of his credit card payment. Blood shot to his head and he walked back into the meeting hall. Siddarth went through hell those two hours at the meeting.

Mansi kept clicking F9 on her outlook mailbox every other second to fetch new mails. She never had any until during one of those frantic clicks; she saw a mail from Siddarth with no subject. She frantically opened the mail to read his one-liner and was greatly dejected. She did not know the answer to his question. She stayed there staring at the monitor wondering what to reply.

She read the same message on SMS. She immediately typed a message in response.

“I hope it isn’t.”

Just then her team mate Rhea stood beside her. She quickly closed the message thinking she had pressed the Send button. Instead her message was stored in the Drafts. She waited for his response. For an hour. And two. There wasn’t any. Mansi went through hell those two hours when he was at the meeting.


Hours, one after the other went by swiftly. Siddarth’s mind was pregnant with Mansi’s thoughts and her silence. He couldn’t spend a moment devoid of her thoughts. Her silence was more torturous than any of their arguments so far. The thought that it was their final breakup was beginning to set into his mind. He began to have visions of the dead end that was ahead. She wasn’t responding and his mind wasn’t either.

She sat beside the phone expecting his call. At least a response to her SMS. She wanted him to take the next move and felt satisfied that she had done her part.

It was almost 1 AM and Siddarth tossed and turned. Event the foam on his bed and pillow kept chanting her name. She was there all around him. He was enraged and quickly picked up his mobile and typed an SMS to her.

“If it is fair that you walked out of my life, it is fair to take away your memories from me”

He pressed the Send button and then in a fraction of a second he realized he shouldn’t have sent such a hasty message to her. His mind battled the fact that she could have had reasons for not having responded to his SMS, but his heart was still angry with the same fact.

As soon as her mobile beeped, she sprang on it. She opened it drowsily to read the message. She rubbed her eyes again to decipher the message, as if it was coded with lots of hidden meaning and that it had to be decoded to extract the essence of it. She failed. She was angry and replied instantly.

“Yes, sounds like a fair deal. And FYI, I didn’t walk out of your life”

She pressed Send.

He knew she would respond to that SMS of his, and as expected his mobile beeped.

He kept looking at the message and didn’t know how to respond. He called her immediately. She answered the phone but did not utter a word. He didn’t either. There was silence at both ends. She could hear him breathe and he could hear the noise of the fan in her room.

“Where do we start?” he asked not able to withstand the silence for long.
“With SMS?” she said as if that was the expected answer or rather question.
He was silent.

“When do we start?” she asked.“

Right away” he said.

They hung up as if the long awaited conversation was over after hours. This was their shortest conversation on phone all of that one year of seeing each other.

Siddarth looked at his Inbox on his mobile. There were more than 300 messages from Mansi. He had moved them to a separate folder, all the special messages from her. “slept?”, “ate?”, “meeting?”, “miss u dodo”, and all those special one words. He hesitantly selected them all to be deleted. He couldn’t get to do it. He wanted to read those messages for one last time. He did that night. One after the other and pressed Delete after reading them. His mobile was clean of her messages. It was the beginning to erase her from his life.

Mansi read it too, message after message. She wanted to SMS him and ask if it was really fair. On second thoughts, she deleted them all. She realized a part of him was on the Sent folder as well. She cleaned it out completely. Her mobile felt light, but her heart was heavier than the breakup night.


“What madness?” Siddarth’s colleague Aman laughed.

“I know! I woke up and realized what difference it makes. Nothing. It could just have remained on my mobile” Siddarth said.

“That is not my point. Deleting SMS from a mobile phone erases your past with her? What crap! Get a grip man!”
“Yea, you are right. I think there are so many other things to erase before time erases my mind of her”

“You are definitely dazed. You need a vacation. You need a break” Aman said sensing the depressed tone of Siddarth.“
”What about mails? It should go away too. All of them” Siddarth said.

“Oh come on. Just take a break, go somewhere far away, get yourself some fresh air and come back to think of all these” Aman pleaded.

“The mails will have to go away too”


“Maybe that was a good move. You at least found the courage to delete all the messages from your mobile. You will survive” Rhea said.

“Hmmm…. but it hurt to do that. Maybe it was just madness to do such a thing. I just lost them all in a jiffy. I can’t get back those messages that I saved for over a year of togetherness.” Mansi lamented.

“You are just going through the breakup phase. You will feel lighter after sometime. When you look back, you will realize that you actually didn’t lose much” Rhea comforted.

Mansi looked at her mobile. She knew it would beep less hereafter. She wouldn’t get those midnight messages from him asking if she was asleep or thinking of him. She wouldn’t get missed calls just for fun when she was in official meetings. She wouldn’t like to set caller tunes just for him. It was over. The romance over the mobile phone. She put the mobile on silent mode and dumped it into her bag.

She stared at her monitor and saw a mail from Siddarth with no subject. She immediately opened it.

“If it was fair to erase all SMS, what about emails?”

She was hurt again. It was her turn to bear the brunt. She suggested SMS earlier and he responded suggesting emails.
She replied.

He saw her reply and got an idea on his dying mind and limping soul. He immediately replied to her.

“I don’t want to believe that you have erased me from your inbox. I need proof”She responded.

“Proof? Like what?”

He knew that was coming from her. He replied immediately.

“7 PM today at Coffee and Stories café. Bring our laptops. Delete emails right before our eyes”

She didn’t like his reply and his thought of distrust.

He liked the idea, because he missed her terribly and he wanted to see her. He thought this would be the best possible way to get to meet her.


They sat there with their laptops as if they were tech junkies who can’t get off their laptop and internet. After all they were just one among those many other internet freaks in that café.

She showed him her inbox. She had filtered all her emails based on his email ID. There were more than 100s of emails from him. All those that were sent during those early days of courting and the days when he was traveling. He turned around his laptop to show her emails. He had created a folder to filter all her emails and the folder name read “life”. She looked at him as if to love him that moment to see a folder with that name.
“Every time a mail falls into that folder, I think my life gained more strength. It is like the life that you gain on Playstation games. The more mails I get the more chances I have with life. That is what I kept thinking.” he said as he selected all the emails in that folder.

She selected all his emails in her inbox and waited for him to speak.

“Drain my life?” he asked not looking at her.

She clicked delete on her screen as he looked at her monitor. He clicked Delete instantly too. She cleared the Trash folder as well. He gave a sheepish smile and cleared the Trash folder too.

She closed the laptop and asked, “What next?”

“Your turn” he said as he sank into the couch with his arms folded as if to close upon himself.

“Loads of pics of yours and ours” she said.

“Printed or digital?” he asked.

“Both” she said and quickly opened her laptop again to gather all the pictures.

In another 10 mins they erased the contents in their laptops that would remind them of each other.

Although they were fighting each other’s egos, they were beginning to feel emotionally drained.

“It is your turn” he said.


“To tell what is next in line”

She was silent. She couldn’t understand if he was mocking at the situation or if he was being serious.

“Cards and gifts?” she asked.

“Yes, I guess those too” he said.

“Tomorrow same place?” she asked.

“Carry them all over here?”

“Ok, I will drop them at your place” she said.

They parted their ways, this time with lighter laptops, but with a much heavier hearts. This game of breakup was tearing them apart in the true sense.


She walked into his house like that was her first time. She sat at the edge of the couch. He clearly understood how things had changed between them during those few days of not being themselves. From strangers to lovers and now back to strangers.

“You are not hurting the couch. Sit comfortably” he said.

She sank into it and did not smile at his snide remark. She had a pretty red bag beside her, full of his gifts and cards.

“You look like Santa” he smiled at her.

She did not smile at him although she wanted to.

“Give me mine” she said.

“Give me mine” he said.

“Are we behaving like kids?” she asked as she stood up and walked to the window.

“I don’t know. But I still wonder why are we doing all this? Will this help getting over each other? Will it erase all our memories?”

“Maybe yes. Maybe no. Just that, when I open my cupboard, I won’t see your things anymore and that means less of your thoughts in the future”

“Hmm.. makes sense. But what happens to the Mansi who runs around my mind?” he asked.

“She will fade away too in time.” She said.

He walked into his room and brought out a carton full of her gifts and cards. It seemed to weigh more than his gifts to her. She turned around, walked to the couch to pick her red bag. He placed the carton beside the couch. She emptied the red bag on the couch. He remembered all those that he saw in the heap. She had also saved up tissue papers that they had scribbled during their long dinner outings, the cabin bag tag of the flight that they traveled together and all those tiny pieces of him. She began to take her gifts and photos from his carton and trashed it into her bag. He sat down on the couch looking at her from behind. Tears rolled down her eyes as he sat there oblivious to it. She picked them all and walked to the door. She stood there for a sign from him, not looking back. He turned towards the window, other side of the door. She gently closed the door behind and walked out. He stood up and walked like a zombie to the window to see her get into the cab. She did not look out of the car. He saw her wiping her tears. He couldn’t cry. He didn’t want to drain his emotions. If he did, it would be the day he will get over her.


Another week passed by.
SMS. Emails. Phone calls. They were devoid of all that. There was nothing at home, in their wallets, bags, anywhere, to remind them of each other. It was just their pregnant minds.

Every time Siddarth was tempted to send an SMS to her, he would end up saving it on draft. One evening, he simply deleted her number from his mobile.

That same evening, she was browsing through her mobile to find some message from Siddarth that she might have missed to delete. While running through the Draft folder, she noticed the unsent message to him that could have eased a lot of things two weeks back. She simply deleted that message too.

She couldn’t hold her dejection that fate had played a trick. She immediately called him. He looked at his phone and saw the number flashing. It usually flashed “Life is calling”, this time it was just a number. He knew it was her.He answered the phone and stayed silent.

“Hi” she said in a feeble tone.

“Is there anything else to erase from my life? I’m trying hard to get you off my mind. I fail” he said.

She remained silent with tears brimming in her ears.

“Can I ask you one last thing?” Siddarth asked.

“Hmm…”“Can I see you one last time? I want to be with you. I want my Mansi for one last time. I won’t ask for more. Just one last time” he pleaded. His eyes were hurt and tears wouldn’t surface.

“Hmm…” she said.
She had cooked dinner for him. He was surprised to see all his favorite dishes decked up on the dining table. She had gone for her shower while he walked around the kitchen. He saw the mug by the sink, the one that she had gifted him. She must have started using it. He walked into the living room and sat on the couch. Her dupatta was on the other couch. He picked that up and smelled her in it. He missed her so much. So near yet so far and it hurt him so much. Just then the smell got stronger and fresher. He quickly turned around to see Mansi standing beside him. She was draped in a pretty blood red saree that accentuated her body that pretty evening. He hid the dupatta behind him and threw a sheepish smile. She smiled at him after a long time. His heart melted. She leaned over him and ran her hand behind him to pull the dupatta from his back. He felt her close to him. The freshness on her body and the wetness on her hair hurt his senses. He kissed her on her neck before she could move away from him with her dupatta. She looked at him into his eyes and turned away. He felt embarrassed.

“Nobody is perfect Mansi. Everybody has their faults. They live with it. Life is full of imperfections” Siddarth blurted out and killed the silence that lurked in the mildly lit room.

She turned around not expecting a sudden statement from Siddarth.

“But you were the one with all your rules. That was all about perfection again” she said.

“Maybe even trying to go by rules is also imperfection in me. So why can’t I live with that?”

“Exactly. Why can’t I live with my imperfections and why can’t we live with each other’s imperfections?” Mansi was beginning to get hysterical.

“I’m tired of seeing a stranger in you.” Siddarth said.

“You wanted to be with me one last time. I’m all yours tonight Siddarth”

He was silent. He opened his arms for her to run to him. She didn’t. She sat on the couch and turned the other side. He walked to her, knelt beside her and placed his hands over her crossed legs. Tears rolled down her eyes. He stood up and lifted her. He moved close to her and held her face by her chin.

“Look at me, let me see myself in those tears. It was because me, right?” he asked in a comforting tone.

She looked at him with eyes welling up.

“This is not my Mansi. She won’t cry this bad. She would rather hit me and make me whine in pain” he said and smiled at her.

She smiled through her tears.“One last kiss?” he asked.
She did not reply.

He moved close to her and kissed her gently on her lips. They lost their senses briefly in that moment of togetherness. They kissed for a very long time, until the tears in her eyes dried. He smiled.

“What is it?” she asked.

“Before kissing you, I promised myself that I will continue to kiss you until the tears dry up” he smiled.

“Dodo!” she scolded him.

He moved away from her, but still holding her close.
“Thank you for that one last kiss” he said.

She remained silent. She wished it wasn’t the last.

He sat beside the window on an empty compartment of the local train that morning. He smiled to himself thinking about last night and the last kiss.

She sat on her bed still thinking about last night’s last kiss and the conversations thereafter. She saw the empty coffee cups beside her. Her lips still tasted coffee and the room smelled of his cologne.

Previous night.

“We have erased messages, emails, photographs, gifts, and what not. Technically everything that would remind us of each other” Siddarth said.

“Hmm.. she nodded her head, resting on his bosom like a sleepy child.“There is nothing left of each other. Just memories on our minds, which will fade in time”

“Hmm..” she said.

“So we are almost empty. Back to square one ,where we were just strangers in each other’s lives” he said.

She remained silent.

“And the last kiss is also done with. We are at the last few moments of togetherness”

She looked up at him as if to ask, what he was trying to convey.

He looked at her and there was hesitance in his eyes and his throat was trying to swallow words that his heart wanted to utter.

“Tell it” she whispered.

“Now that we are almost strangers in this night, can we start over afresh? All over again?” he finally blurted.

“I would have killed you if you hadn’t asked me this?” she said and hugged him.

He hugged her even closer and smiled.
“Hey!” he called out to her.
“Hmm?” she asked faintly still in his hug.

“How you doing?” he asked in Joey’s tone.
She laughed.

Next day, they woke up to smell coffee, together in each other’s arms.They were in love, all over again.

-the girl.


Once Broken .... said...

It was beautiful!
Emotions flew through me...
Wonderful story....Really loved it....Realizing Life can restart...amazing...
I hope this takes me somewhere..too..

the girl said...

thanks a lot, once broken! :)

keep visiting!